A Patriotic Super Bowl
Brady and Manning aren’t great value, but check out a couple of wide receivers.
While Ed Wyatt might be tempted to advise you to "back Madonna to sing Ray of Light" or to "back the Ferris Bueller Honda commercial as favourite ad," during this year's Super Bowl, he has made the wise decision to stick to the football...
It's Super Bowl time, the biggest event on the American sporting calendar and one of the most hyped days of the year.
This year's game is in Indianapolis, under the roof and on the artificial turf of Lucas Oil Stadium. The AFC champion New England Patriots (15-3) are looking for their fourth Super Bowl win in the last eleven years and come in on an eight-game winning streak.
Ironically, the last time they tasted defeat was against the Giants in November.
The New York Giants (12-7) got hot at the right time of the season, finishing with two important wins over the Cowboys and a win over the arch-rival Jets, which gave them the NFC East title.
Then, in the post-season, they beat Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco to advance to their second Super Bowl in five years.
It's certainly worth ruminating on the fact that the Giants upset the Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII (2008) and beat them 24-20 in that November game.
Both games were tense, both low scoring.
In fact, the 2011 game was score-less at half-time, which is remarkable when you consider how prolific the Patriots offense has been.
In the tight 23-20 AFC title game win over Baltimore two weeks ago, New England quarterback Tom Brady struggled. Even he admitted in the post-game media conference that he played poorly.
Granted, the Ravens put plenty of pressure on Brady, who isn't the most mobile QB in the league, but he looked uncomfortable at times and missed open receivers.
The Patriots were also hampered by a high ankle sprain injury to All Pro tight-end Rob Gronkowski, and his status is crucial to New England's chances in the Super Bowl. Gronkowski hasn't practiced this week, but I suspect he'll play -- or try to -- yet who knows how effective he'll be.
The odds of Brady having another 'off day' are pretty slim, though the Giants pass rush is superb. I don't think New England will score a lot, but they should be able to put 20+ points on the board.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been unbelievable in the playoffs and he'll be salivating at the prospect of a weak Patriots secondary, especially when he can look for wide receivers Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. Manning threw an amazing 58 times in the NFC championship win over San Francisco, but that was partly because the 49ers stopped the run cold.
It's not a foregone conclusion that New England won't be able to stop the run either. The Patriots clamped down on Baltimore's Ray Rice, limiting him to just 67 yards on 21 carries, and while there's undoubtedly more pressure on New England's defense, they've been a bit better in the post-season.
Like the 2004 Super Bowl and the November game, I think this will be close and relatively low-scoring. I actually think the Giants are a more complete team, but I've been riding the Patriots train all season and I'm not going to jump off now.
The other wager I'd have a look at is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
This normally goes to a quarterback, so Brady and Manning aren't great value, but check out a couple of wide receivers.
Wide receivers have been named MVP three times in the last seven years, so either of these guys might be worth a punt.